Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 10:56 pm | Fair 61º

 
 
 
 

Hospice of Santa Barbara Offers End-of-Life Planning for Families

It will provide free services, even to those without health insurance

There has been much discussion about issues that surround end-of-life planning as it relates to the current health-care debate in Washington, D.C., and around the nation.

While Hospice of Santa Barbara does not take sides in the political arena, the organization wants to ensure that the Santa Barbara community understands the importance of preparing for the end of life, and what it entails.

“End-of-life planning is a bit of a misnomer because the actual planning can happen at any point during our life, not just at the end of it,” said Steve Jacobsen, executive director of Hospice of Santa Barbara.

“In other words, we can all make these decisions today without having to wait until we are in a crisis, terminally ill or in our later years,” he said. “The ‘planning’ simply relates to the choices we make related to completing our lives in a way that reflects our values. It’s a thoughtful, responsible and loving act that can reduce unnecessary anguish for people you love.”

End-of-life planning includes familiar terms such as wills, durable powers of attorney, end-of-life medical decisions, advance directives, inheritances and finances. Even the choice between burial and cremation is something that should be determined ahead of time.

It is important for all of us to make these decisions for ourselves and with our families to avoid future confusion, choices being made that do not align with our ethical or religious beliefs, loss of money and family disagreements.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC), for example, is one kind of advanced directive that appoints someone for you to make health-care decisions. It becomes active if you are unconscious or unable to make medical decisions.

The Living will is another kind of document that specifies what types of medical treatment are desired.

Advanced estate and financial planning is critical because it allows one to make the best decisions about inheritance, life insurance, personal property/effects and more. Make sure you have a valid, up-to-date will, or trust documents if desired or needed.

Death is a painful time for loved ones, and alleviating them of having to make difficult decisions in their grief can be a wonderful gift. Putting one’s end-of-life wishes down in writing is crucial, experts say.

For more information, guidance or a personal end-of-life planning guide, click here or call Hospice of Santa Barbara at 805.563.8820.

Hospice of Santa Barbara’s services are free, so the lack of comprehensive health insurance does not have to be an obstacle to receiving assistance.

— Daniella Elghanayan is a publicist.

 

 

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